- Hello, I am Satchi Awasthi, originally from Uttar Pradesh but born and brought in Kolkata.
- In 2016, I started my CA journey…a journey of determination and hard work!
- My CA journey has not been extremely challenging (thankfully) but it has surely helped me evolve as a more focused and dedicated human being.
- After 1.5 years of articles at a CA Firm, I decided to opt for CA Industrial Training at amazing Tata Steel!
- Here is my story of WHY I opted for Industrial Training and HOW did I get through Tata Steel for the same.
Deciding to pursue Chartered Accountancy
Early in life, I realised that I wanted to be a Chartered Accountant as I always wanted to work in Taxation and the Finance sector!
Also, the amount of respect and determination one gets to witness in the CA profession is amazing (in my opinion).
Needless to say, I was good at academics and loved numbers…so, yes this was another major reason to pursue Chartered Accountancy!
In 2016, I enrolled for the CA course from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India), and here started my CA journey!
My CA Journey so far: From passing CPT easily to failing IPCC
My CA journey has not been extremely challenging (thankfully) but it has surely helped me evolve as a more focused and dedicated human being.
CA – CPT just went by like a breeze as I had appeared for it immediately after giving my higher secondary exams.
Like most students, I had cleared my CPT (first level CA exam) in the first attempt!
When it was time for the next level CA -IPCC, I cleared Group 1 in the first attempt but failed group 2!
Obviously I was disheartened but knew this was just a part of my journey…so I quickly picked myself and moved on!
Since I had cleared CA -IPCC Group 1, I was allowed to start with my articles while still simultaneously preparing for Group 2!
Working and studying was a tough challenge!
Luckily, I cleared CA- IPCC Group 2 in my second attempt!
It is only in these tough times that we get to know of our real strengths and determinations skills…thus, CA is a journey of hard work and one should never back off from it only because of long tiring hours of dedication!
Starting with my CA Articles
When it was time to decide about my articles, my friend and I had researched a lot about various firms on Google and LinkedIn (like most Millenials)!
Also, my aunt being a Chartered Accountant was my guiding light…she helped me acknowledging which firms would give me an overall knowledge and exposure!
Also doing articles in Big 4 was never my plan…my objective was to get an all-rounded exposure in different departments (like Statutory audit, ROC, taxation, GST, etc)!
So, my only criteria when choosing a CA firm for my articles was to get varied exposure along with a good office culture which could make me fit into every challenge that I would have to face in the future.
Luckily, I applied to SDP & Associates, a mid-sized CA firm and got selected!
And luckily this firm helped me with good exposure in GST, statutory and internal audit and Income Tax related matters. It gave me a lot of clarity and groomed me well.
Did I feel under-confident as compared to my friends doing articles at a Big 4? Not at all! I was doing similar work as my friends at the Big 4. So, this never lowered my self-confidence. However, I always kept myself updated and made an effort to learn from them!
Extra Tip: I truly feel one should always go with his/her inner voice of whether their goal is knowledge of a specific department or of learning all variety of work.
Having a family member or some friend or a senior guide you can be of great value! However be very particular of who you chose as your mentor, as they can either motivate or demotivate you!
Deciding to switch to Industrial Training
Initially, I had absolutely no desire to opt for Industrial Training!
However, after completing 1.5 years of my articles (in total CA articles is for 2.5 years), I realised I would want to work in the industry in the future.
Also in my 1.5 years at a CA firm, I had got a lot of exposure to the kind of work handled by a CA firm, and by now I was ready to be on the other side, working at the client’s side!
I also realised Industrial training would give me an edge after I become a CA…as I would have exposure in both a CA firm plus in the industry!
And all of these factors motivated me to opt for Industrial training!
“How did I start my search for CA Industrial Training Vacancies?”
After 1.5 years of articles training at a CA firm, I started my search…I knew it would not be easy getting one in the same city as my residence and so I was comfortable moving out of Kolkata!
I applied to several openings for CA Industrial Training and got selected at Mondelez India Foods Private Limited, Aditya Birla Capital, and ITC and also Tata Steel Kolkata, Yes Bank and Indian Oil Kolkata!
I came across vacancies for Industrial Training through the ICAI institutes website!
Out of all – I preferred Tata Steel…as I was always inclined towards manufacturing plants!
After applying for the same, I was scrutinized in the interviews and luckily chosen for the position at Tata Steel.
Extra Tip: I would like to advise all those interested in pursuing industrial training to start searching for Industrial Training 6-7 months before your due date of completion of articles.
“How did I prepare for the interview at Tata Steel?”
Before going for the interview I did the following preparation:
- I had studied the background of TATA Steels business, their major stakeholders, their products and ideologies.
- I had also studied subject-based questions on the steel manufacturing industry.
- Most important of them all was going through my own resume – I am marking this as most important as the first question which I was asked was about one of the clients I had audited during my articles!
I was also ready with my set of questions for the interviewer, one being ‘How much study leave will I get to prepare for my CA Final exams’.
Extra Tip: Another thought which was always on my mind while choosing a company for Industrial Training was the number of leaves I would be getting.
“What is the interview process at Tata Steel for Industrial Training?”
My interview at TATA Steel was a learning session too as it also taught me a lot of things which I was not aware of.
My aptitude and excel skills were also tested. It was one of the most gentle and encouraging interview panels I had witnessed to date!
The interview process comprised of two rounds as follows:
1. HR round
- In the HR round, I was tested on my soft skills, the attitude of working for late hours during quarter endings. This round was for about half an hour.
- I would suggest everyone ‘Be very clear and focused while answering these questions’. It is majorly through these questions that the HR judges our approach towards their organisation!
2. Round with the respective department Chief Financial Controller and Head Executive
- My next round was with the department Chief Financial Controller and Head Executive panel.
- This interview lasted for about an hour or so.
- In this round, I was tested on my academic and experience gained through my articles.
- Various application-based questions were asked pertaining to the TATA Steels work area.
“How is Industrial Training different from CA articles?”
CA Industrial Training is in many ways different from articles!
During CA articles, we audit many entities and also get an insight about their working, but industrial training is a self-evolving process, which makes you a master of that subject and industry norms.
You also get a complete insight into the way an industry operates from scratch!
Industrial Training in Tata Steel has helped me evolve even more as a person! These are my learnings so far:
- I have learnt the manner of conducting meetings and putting forward my views.
- During my training, I had participated in events like Disability meet, Ethics day, etc. which made me learn how professionals manage both work and small social sessions during their busy schedules. It taught me to balance official work and social work simultaneously.
- I was also a part of an e-library project which was headed by the Executive In Charge of our department. Thus, apart from learning new accounting software, valuing time, knowing in-depths of the steel business it also helped me in learning tricks of balancing life once I become a professional.
“Balancing CA Final Studies during CA Industrial Training.”
Well, during my industrial training there were pressure periods as well as lean periods.
My seniors at the workplace supported me a lot towards studies thus I could balance my studies really well with work!
Usually, one gets minimal leaves for studies for appearing in CA finals while pursuing CA finals. I was given leave for 2.5 months.
Even though one does not get many holidays in IT but I am truly blessed to have such seniors who always motivated me. Thus making it easier for me to cope with studies and work simultaneously!
Extra Tip: Always discuss the study leave during the interview. This is very important! Tata Steel offered me the maximum days of leave. Thus, this was another reason which inclined me more towards choosing TATA as my training organisation.
Industrial Training plays a major role in choosing your career options once we clear CA. Thus, choosing the right type of industry is really important rather than just getting inclined toward higher pay or the last option left!
My advice for all those looking for CA Industrial would be to choose such an industry where your interest lies.
Also, it is NOT necessary to clear CA-IPCC in the first attempt or to do articles from a BIG 4 to get selected for CA Industrial Training!
The most important thing is your skills and knowledge of the subject and of course your desire to learn and adapt!
A good organization would always prefer knowledgeable candidates against those having first attempts to mark sheets. So, do not let anything or anyone stop you!
Satchi Awasthi did her articles from a mid-sized CA firm and later applied to Tata Steel for Industrial Training. She cleared CA-IPCC in her second attempt and stong believes that one should not take ‘attempts’ too seriously. Rather having good knowledge and a desire to learn should be a priority!
Now It’s Your Turn…
Are you looking to opt for Industrial Training? If yes, comment below and Satchi can guide you.
The CA Story is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and get updates with latest stories of finance professionals.